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2000 S70 rack & pinion replacment procedure (PART 1)

Volvo S70 Made from 1998 to 2000, this sporty model replaced the 850 sedan and instantly became a hit.

2000 S70 rack & pinion replacment procedure (PART 1)

Old 09-01-2013, 09:03 AM
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Default 2000 S70 rack & pinion replacment procedure (PART 1)

I had to break this into 2 parts (disassembly and reassembly) to fit in the thread.

I could not find good instructions on the internet to help with the replacement of the rack & pinion unit for a 2000 S70 so I thought I would write one up that gives some insight into the process and issues. No warranties or responsibilities expressed or implied. Good luck.

THIS IS NOT A TRIVIAL JOB AND REQUIRES A LOT OF PREP WORK. You should expect this job to take a good weekend depending on how much time you can devote to it. I found information on the internet that a good mechanic will charge 8+ hrs. time & material.

I did not take pictures, I know it will be everyone's instinct to start taking stuff apart - Don't do that. Read this whole procedure and study it as a good primer to what needs to be done. The write up may be missing something particular to you, but it should give you good insight into what you will need to do and things that will happen to you.

I did not have torque specifications for anything. I tightened things to what made sense, but in hindsight I should have found specifications. I'd recommend getting the torque specs. Also, I would consider replacing the rack mounting bolts, the steering coupling pinch bolts on both ends.

The key to success is prep work. EVERYTHING will either be rusty, corroded or worn out. Believe it.

You will need lots of tools/stuff to do this job.
* PB Blaster or some really good penetrating oil
* 10mm -18mm wrenches (box end and open end)
* 18mm tubing wrench. This can be made from an 18mm stubby box end by cutting out a section of the box end the size of the return hose pipe.
* needle nose pliers
* 1/2" drive metric sockets up to 18mm
* 3/8" drive metric sockets to 18mm
* 3/8" drive extensions and universals - up to 24" would be helpful
* 1/2" drive x 3" extension
* 3/8" drive 16mm (5/8”) and 18mm (3/4”) crows foot (for power steering hoses.)
* crescent wrench
* torx bits
* bars, screw drivers, basic stuff
* wire brushes
* 4 ft level
* sharpie
* Antiseize
* A means to support the engine from above or underneath.
* Consider 4 new nuts/bolts for the rack mounts - recommended for time and ease of reassembly
* Baggies; use them to hold nuts and bolts so you know what goes where. mark the baggies as a reminder
* When you get all the nuts and bolts off, make sure to clean ALL of them with a wire brush or whatever your tool of choice is. There will likely be lots of corrosion and this job is hard enough without having to mess with rusty/corroded bolts.

Step 1: Order the correct rack & pinion unit. There are 2 different units. VIN digit 11 can be a 1 or a 2. Thoroughly inspect it when it comes in, I did not - big mistake. Besides the obvious of missing, broken parts or the same part, you are looking for issues with the unit. I had the latter problem. If you got a remanufactured unit and the prior person butchered it during disassembly you own it if you install it. The mounting body of the rack and pinion actually holds the mounting bolts via a knurling of the bolt. If the bolt can't grip the mount,you cannot imagine what an ugly time you will have trying to tighten this unit down - SERIOIUSLY UGLY. To find out if the mounting holes have been destroyed, use a new bolt or remove one of the mounting bolts from the vehicle. If you did not buy new nuts/bolts, do the following to get a bolt to test with:
1. Loosen the wheel lugs on the passenger side (this is the easiest side to work on).
2. Jack up the car on the passenger side.
3. Use a jack stand to support the car. You'll be working under the car and if it falls on your head it will hurt, if not kill you.
4. Remove the wheel
5. Locate the mounting bolt towards the front of the vehicle. It will be in front of the sub-frame and the sub-frame will have a little curved cut-out to allow a socket to fit.
6. Spray the nut with PB Blaster. If you can clean up the treads with a wire brush, this will help. Let the oil penetrate for a good 15-30 minutes and do it again.
7. Using a breaker bar, loosen the nut. Don't use an impact gun. If you strip the aluminum mount and have to retighten the nut you are not going to be happy. Work the nut back and forth and clean the threads as you go if it's hard to turn. Breaking the nut loose may be hard, but the penetrating oil should allow it to turn easier - so keep it wet. Be patient. If the nut gets hot, stop and let it cool.

To test the mounting hole, insert the bolt into EACH of the 4 mounting holes. The bolt should not be able to go into the hole without a good amount of pressure. It if pops right in or worse yet, turns when it's in the hole, you have 1 of 2 decisions to make. 1) Send the unit back and get another one. 2) You will need to weld something to the mounting bolt head to keep it from turning when tightening. This is the single biggest issue you will have putting the unit back together. This is the time to get this right.

Step 2: The next biggest hurdle will be the coupling between the rack unit and the steering column. I spent 2 full weekends trying to uncouple this thing from the rack shaft. It's made of aluminum, not steel, knowing this would have helped. I never got it decoupled until I removed the coupling and the rack as a unit. There is a groove cut into the coupling to allow the bolt to pinch the coupling to the shaft. I tried everything I had to spread this open to help get it off. Aluminum corrodes in contact with steel and the corrosion acts quite nicely as glue. The aluminum is too soft and nothing worked. Heat is your friend here if you have the nerve to hit it with the torch, I did not, it will break the corrosion and likely come off. There are a lot of wires and tubing down there and space is very limited and fire is risky in a tight place like that. It won't take a lot of heat but it WILL take a lot of patience.
1. Line up the steering wheel so it is making a slight left hand turn. This will make it easier to remove the wire lock and nut/bolt from the steering coupling. Basically, the bolt should be parallel to the firewall.
2. Remove the wire that goes through the bold. It's rectangular/oval shaped and the ends just match up, it has a split. You just need to use a needle nose to bend it to remove it.
3. Attach a 10 mm box end to the bolt head and position it so it does not contact wiring or tubing when turning as you loosen the bolt
4. Use a 13mm 6 pt. socket or box end to loosen the nut. Be patient, there is not a lot of room. I found it easier to lie across the top of the engine to make it easier to do this part. Remove the nut and bolt.
5. Re-align the steering wheel to the straight ahead position and lock it in place (remove the key). I also taped the wheel in place. There is a lot of stuff on the internet about not allowing the wheel to move or it will damage the SRS system. I took it at face value they knew what they were talking about and saw no reason to risk it.
6. Spray PB Blaster in the steering coupling universal and let it soak
7. Inside the car is the opposite end of the coupling (near the floor). There is a pinch bolt that joins the coupling to the steering column. Loosen this bolt a few turns so the coupling can move. This will give the coupling the ability to move without damaging the steering column. You may find you have to turn the wheel a bit to get the nut loose; just remember to relock it (step2, #5).
8. At this point you need to raise the car as high as you safely can. You're going to be under the car quite a bit. Make sure it is safely elevated. You are going to have to drop the sub-frame later so don't use any of these components to support the car. I used a 12" piece of 2x4 by the floor pan with jack stands and when I removed the wheels I put then under the car "just in case". Make sure you examine the structures and metal quality when you support the vehicle. If the car falls on you with the wheels off, it won't be pretty.
9. This is where the fun begins......
10. From underneath the car, using a 12+" chisel (or some other long punch, hitting tool) start tapping on the bottom of the universal connecting to the rack shaft. Keep in mind if you damage the coupling, this part is about $180 to replace. Tap evenly around the universal; tap may mean BEAT in this context. You're going to be tapping to working the coupling evenly up the shaft. Don't worry about being gentle with it. What you are looking for is some movement. The shaft itself is likely rusty from weather. Keep checking the shaft to see if you see "clean metal". If you do, the universal is loose and moving (this is good, and you were lucky). If you move it 1/8" you can stop; you know it’s loose and you can move past this step. I was never able to get it to move until I removed the coupling and rack from the car. You need to decide how much time and energy you want to put into this. With everything out I was able to heat the universal with a benz-o-matic torch for a minute or so, turned the unit so the shaft pointed down and beat it off with a chisel. While this sounds good, it is a nightmare to get the rack out of the car with the coupling attached. I will address how to do this further on. If you muck up the surface of the universal, a file can dress it up. I also repainted it black so it looked better.
Note: Things I tried that did not work but may work for you
-I placed a heavy screwdriver between the universal and the shaft stub to apply levered force. Keep in mind the force is applied to the knuckle so you don't want to damage that.
-I placed a pickle fork between the universal and the shaft stub to apply force. Keep in mind the force is applied to the knuckle so you don't want to damage that.
-I tried the wedge step above with a chisel and other stuff to open the slit in the universal. You run the risk of splitting the metal and ruining the coupling, but at this point I didn't care anymore.

Step 3: You need to deal with the reality of the power steering hoses. Undoing them is really tough. Have something large to catch the oil or it will be a mess.
* If you are going to replace the hoses. Don't mess with this. Cut them off just a little above the fitting nuts. While this is the most expensive route, it is by FAR the easiest.
* The high pressure hose is very expensive, about $180. Make sure to check the year for the hose compatibility; there seems to be different hoses for different years. To unscrew the fitting, use a 3/8" 16mm (5/8”) crows foot, universal and 12 or more inches of extension. Be patient. The fitting nut is steel. It's just a really slow process and while it may seem hard to break it loose, it comes off pretty easy once loose. A piece of advice; clean the metal tube before loosening. It will make it much easier to remove the fitting nut. There was a lot of gunk on the tubing and it made it harder to turn the fitting nut.
* The lower hose is a b*tch. The fitting nut is aluminum. Everything is in the way, especially the anti-sway bar. It is 18mm (3/4”). I was NEVER able to loosen it, even out of the car with a cheater bar. I ended up buying a new hose and cutting the old one out. The hose is just under $100 if you search. Things I tried:
-Unbolting the anti-sway mount to provide more room
-I made a tubing wrench from a stubby open/box end wrench (18mm). I cut out a piece of the box end the size of the diameter of the pipe.
-I tried an 18mm crows foot.
-I unbolted the anti-sway mount. You have to unbolt it from both end links to do this. One of the end links broke and I had to replace it.
-I dropped the sub-frame a bit to provide more room

Step 4: This step is the easier stuff, just time consuming.
1. Make sure the steering wheel is in the straight ahead position OR locked in a position. You just want it to be in a set place so you can do reference measurements. Just keep in mind you don't want the steering wheel rotating around. First, you want to get the toe-in adjustment reasonable after install and you need to know where you are before you take things apart. You WILL need a front end alignment when you are done, this will at least get you to a point of drive-ability when you finish this project.
2. Place a level against each rotor just under the hub (it fits there). The level needs to be horizontally level. A good level will have a bubble for this. Use a sharpie and draw a line on the rotor following the level edge. This is a reference for the rotation of the rotor. Measure a standard reference distance from the rotor and mark the level. Write down the side of the car you are working on and the reference distance (denote it was something so you remember it's the reference number). Measure from a flat spot on the sub-frame to the standard reference mark. Write this down. Do the opposite side of the car.
3. Remove the tie rod ends. If they are fairly new and you are going to reuse them, don't damage the boot. I was replacing them.
a. Remove the tie rod end nut. Use a pickle fork or whatever tool you like for this job. A pickle fork will for sure ruin the boot. I've also had very good luck with applying a lot of upward force to the tie rod end using a long bar and sharply rapping the steering knuckle with a hammer. It will pop up.
b. Loosen the locking nut for the tie rod end.
c. Remove the tie rod end.
d. Do the opposite side of the car.
4. You need to start supporting the engine at this point.
a. I used a 2x4 and 2 2x4 blocks to span the engine compartment. The blocks fit on the bolting surface of the fender. This will keep you from bending the fender when the weight of the engine is on it. I strongly suggest screwing/nailing the blocks to the long 2x4 so they don't move later.
b. The 2x4 will need to be long side vertical to maximize strength. Screwing (2) 2x4's together to add strength would not be unreasonable.
c. I used 5/16 allthread, a coupler and a threaded hook to support the engine. Bore a hole in the 2x4 just slightly larger than the allthread. You want the hole as small as possible to maximize strength so the 2x4 doesn't break when the engine weight is on it. To locate the place to bore the hole; look on the driver side of the engine. There will be a lifting ring mounted to the engine. It’s basically in line with the air intake. Attach the hook/allthread to the ring and through the 2x4. You'll need a LARGE heavy washer a few smaller washers and a nut. Tight the nut until its snug.
d. Tighten the nut to add tension to the 2x4 so it bears the weight of the engine. If the engine drops down too far when you lower the sub-frame later you run the risk of damaging the transmission lines and radiator; and probably other stuff. I'm assuming this is also an unpleasant and expensive replacement if it happens. The engine mounts to the rack so it needs to be a good distance from it to get it out.
5. Loosen the anchor for the high pressure hose just under the radiator. This is a Torx screw. The screw was rusted solid for me. I removed the bolt to the anchor and left the Torx screw alone.
6. Loosen the Torx screw for the clamp that holds the return and high pressure lines. This will be near the rack about 1/3 of the way from the driver side. Also remove the bolt that holds the anchor mount. It will be right behind the clamp. You need the hoses to move freely to get the rack out later.
7. Remove the clamp holding the return line to the sub-frame. It’s a Torx screw near the passenger side.

Hoses should move freely at this point.

8. Remove the 4 nuts attaching the rack to the sub-frame. Use LOTs of PB Blaster and let it soak. Work the nuts loose slowly with a breaker bar and keep them wet with PB Blaster. 2 nuts are forward of the sub-frame. The other 2 are located in the holes cut into the sub-frame. If the nuts get really hot, stop and let them cool. Heat will cause them to break the bolt
9. Remove the 4 bolts from #8. You do this by putting the nuts back on by 3 or 4 turns. Tap the socket to push the bolts up. Hold the bolts with your fingers and remove the nuts. Remove the bolts.
10. About half way on the rack there is a horizontal bolt that attaches the bottom of the rack to the sub- frame via a raised mount. Remove this bolt. You'll need a wrench on the nut to prevent it from turning as you loosen the bolt.
11. Slightly closer to the driver side and above the rack shaft is a bolt that attaches the rack to the engine mount. You'll have to feel for it. I think its 13mm. If you look at the replacement rack you can see where it's located on the rack. Remove this bolt.
12. Remove the heat shield. It clamps on the passenger end and has a Torx screw on the driver's side.
13. The steering gear should now be unbolted and will probably move a bit
14. You will need to lower the sub-frame. Don't try to avoid this step. It will be futile and you will break plastic stuff trying. It is pretty easy to lower the sub-frame so it's worth the time.
a. Start with the passenger side. Remove the 2 bolts that hold the sub-frame support plate at the rear of the sub-frame.
b. Support the sub-frame with a jack
c. Loosen the rear sub-frame bolt. You only need it down about 1/2". It's a long bolt. However you want to make sure you have plenty of thread holding the bolt. The engine is heavy. What I did was loosen the bolt a good 3/4 inch and then re-tighten it so I had the 1/2 inch. You don't need to touch the front sub-frame mount.
d. Switching to the driver side. Remove the 2 bolts that hold the sub-frame support plate at the rear of the sub-frame.
e. Move the jack and support the sub-frame with the jack
f. Loosen the FRONT sub-frame mount bolt about the same as the passenger side in "c" above.
g. I removed the rear sub-fame bolt. I don't know if this is required if you were able to disengaged the steering coupling (remember the fun in step 2). I had to remove the coupling with the rack so I needed a lot more room. I *think* that if you can lower it 1" it should be ok. The rack comes out pretty easy. You can lower the jack to set the sub-frame down.
h. Go back to the steering coupling. If you were able to get it loose in step 2 above, life is good for you. Pull the steering gear down. If the coupling is nice and loose, it may come right off the shaft. If not, you may need to pull down on the rack while simultaneously tapping upward on the steering coupling knuckle until it disengages.
i. Slide the gear out the from the driver's side. You will have to rotate it as you take it out so the shaft clears. The power steering hose ends are also in the way and you will need to move them around. Be patient and go easy. There is a lot of plastic stuff in there that breaks easy on old cars. I found a few that I still don't know what they are. You're going to have oil to deal with so you may think about a sacrificial towel.

I will address the steering coupling here if you could not get it off the rack shaft. You will hate this, I promise, but it will be what it will be. Essentially you will be trying to remove the rack with an 8 to 12" long piece on the end of the rack shaft. There is no room for this.
* Remove the nut that holds the center rack to sub-frame mount (step 4 #10).
* A few inches closer to the driver side is an 18mm nut and large washer. Remove this.
* Lift the steering gear by hand and remove the 2 components just loosened. The 2nd is pretty large and is a pain, but it will come out. You'll need these out of the way.
* Remove the bolt from the pinch clamp on the steering column to steering coupling joint (inside the car by the floor board.) This bolt has to be removed as there is an ear on the shaft that will prevent it from coming out with the bolt installed. It only fits one way because the back side of the shaft is curved while the rest is square. MAKE SURE THE STEERING WHEEL IS LOCKED in position. If it rotates freely your SRS will be broken and you'll be researching how to fix it on the internet.
* You'll need the sub-frame to be as low as you can get it.
* Put something under the lower control arm so that it can travel downward about 1-2" lower than it is currently.
* Remove the 3 shock strut nuts and lower the strut. You need the room - trust me.
* The engine will be suspended at this point by the 2x4. The sub-frame will be hanging down about 2" at the rear driver side. To get more distance, you will need to remove mounts from the engine/transmission to the sub-frame. I didn't do this and regretted it. It's why I broke the still unknown plastic parts. If you opt to drop the sub-frame more or out, you are on your won to figure that out. I know there is another lifting ring on the other side of the engine or maybe you could put something under the engine. Your call.
* The rest is all about patience. You will need to pull, rotate and twist the gear PATIENTLY to get it out. The shaft of the steering gear has to move through the weather boot to come out. You're moving it 4+ inches.
* Once you get it out, pull the rack out the driver's side. You will still need to rotate it and maneuver the coupling shaft to fit it between the sub-frame and the fender structures.

Go have a BEER or other stress reliever thing. THEN GO TO PART 2

Last edited by kwatt; 09-01-2013 at 09:18 AM.
Old 09-14-2013, 01:08 AM
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